PASADENA, Calif. — The Ohio State Buckeyes are Rose Bowl champions once again after rallying in the second half of the annual bowl game to defeat the Utah Utes, 48-45—and two Buckeyes players broke records with their performances.
On Saturday, the Buckeyes struggled defensively and that struggle saw them head into the second half with a 35-21 deficit. On the Utes' opening drive, it took just five plays for them to push 56 yards down the field to get their first touchdown of the day and take an early lead over Ohio State—a lead they held on to through most of the game.
But while the Utes were able to hang 45 points on the Buckeyes, quarterback C.J. Stroud was able to overcome that with help from his receivers Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Marvin Harrison Jr. as well as running back TreVeyon Henderson.
Stroud threw 37-for-46 for a whopping 573 yards and six touchdowns with one interception. The performance broke the single-game Rose Bowl passing record of 456 yards previously set by Oregon's Danny O'Neil against Penn State in 1995.
The quarterback also broke Ohio State's single-game passing yardage record, surpassing he previous record of 499 yards set by Dwayne Haskins in the Big Ten Championship game win over Northwestern in 2018.
But Stroud wasn't the only player who broke records Saturday.
Smith-Njigba notched 15 receptions for 347 yards and three touchdowns,breaking the Rose Bowl receiving-yard record, the Ohio State single-game receiving record and the school's receiving record for a season.
The performance passed the single-game receiving record of 253 yards set by Terry Glenn against Pitt in 1995, the Rose Bowl record of 216 yards set by Keyshawn Johnson and Ohio State's season record of 1,435 yards set by David Boston in 1998 with his 1,547 total receiving yards this season.
Ohio State rallied in the second half of the game, led by the two record-breakers but also Harrison who had 71 receiving yards and three touchdowns on six receptions and Henderson rushing for 83 yards on 17 carries.
After closing the deficit and tying things up 38-38 early in the fourth quarter, the Buckeyes gained a 45-38 lead with just under five minutes left in the game.
The Utes answered back with a touchdown of their own to tie it back up, but Stroud and his offense pushed down the field with less than two minutes to play, getting the Buckeyes in field goal position with Noah Ruggles making the 19-yard attempt for the win.
The Buckeyes have won three straight Rose Bowl games in their appearances since 1997.
Download the News 5 Cleveland app now for more stories from us, plus alerts on major news, the latest weather forecast, traffic information and much more. Download now on your Apple device here, and your Android device here.